The Nursing Interventions Classification system includes forgiveness facilitation as part of the research-based taxonomy of nursing interventions. Nurses need practical guidance in finding the type of intervention that works best in the nursing realm. Five meta-analyses of forgiveness interventions were reviewed to illuminate best practice. The only studies included were meta-analyses of forgiveness interventions in which the authors calculated effect size. Forgiveness interventions were shown to be helpful in addressing mental/emotional health. Components of effective interventions include recalling the offense, empathizing with the offender, committing to forgive, and overcoming feelings of unforgiveness. The meta-analyses showed that people receiving forgiveness interventions reported more forgiveness than those who had no intervention. Forgiveness interventions resulted in more hope and less depression and anxiety than no treatment. A process-based intervention is more effective than a shorter cognitive decision-based model. Limitations of the meta-analyses included inconsistency of measures and a lack of consensus on a definition of forgiveness. Notwithstanding these limitations, the meta-analyses offer strong evidence of what contributes to the effectiveness of forgiveness interventions. The implications of the studies are useful for designing evidence-based clinical forgiveness interventions to enhance nursing practice.
Keywords: forgiveness; health promotion; holistic nursing; intervention; meta-analysis; spirituality.
© The Author(s) 2014.